In October of last year, I attended the Georgia’s Colonial Coast Birding and Nature Festival, along with three of my good bird watching buddies. It was a fun five days, filled with lots of bird watching field trips and wonderful seminars on almost every topic related to birds and bird watching that you can imagine.
October is THE time for bird watching on Jekyll Island because so many birds stop over to feed and rest as they pass through on their autumn migration. We hiked on the beach, through forest, out boardwalks and through marshland.
I saw Bald Eagles… (image from Wikipedia)
and Peregrine Falcons. (image from Wikipedia)
I even got to see my first Painted Bunting…he was only about 3 feet in front of me on a board walk that led down to the beach. He took my breath away! Over the five days of the festival, I was able to see several more painted buntings…it was one of the highlights of my trip.
(image from Wikipedia)
One night we went out on a “wildlife watch and owl prowl” through Laura S. Walker State Park. It reminded me of one of my son’s favorite childhood books called, “Owl Moon.” We didn’t see any owls that night, but we saw lots of waterfowl leaving the lake to go roost for the night. And, after dark, we saw several pairs of eyes out in the lake. It gave us the heebie-jeebies. We were not just watching…but we were being watched right back! Each day we headed out on a brand new adventure.
Our days were spent at places like Blackbeard Island National Wildlife Refuge or Sapelo Island.
The serious birders brought along scopes… (from Georgia Coastal Birding website)
You could even take a field trip on the Lady Jane shrimp boat and watch the shrimpers in action.
A few pics of the beach…it wasn’t very crowded this time of year…
We came across the remains of an old shipwreck. 02-21-13 Update: A reader left a comment today saying this is the remains of a 1960′s shrimp boat named Mary Ann. I always wondered what boat this was.
I Googled and found a forum site online and the poster there said the Mary Ann ran aground in 1996 and sank here on the south end of Jekyll Island. Over the years the boat has gradually become buried by the sand so all you can see now is the mast. Eerie, isn’t it?
There were some really interesting historic homes on Jekyll…this one had a neat bookstore and gift shop inside.
That’s the historic Jekyll Island Club and Hotel. (image from Jekyll Island Club website)
The Jekyll Island Club has a rich history. In its historic past, it was a favorite vacation spot for the Vanderbilts, Rockefellers and even a few United States Presidents. We didn’t stay there…
But we did dine in their beautiful dining room several times. The breakfast brunch was yummy.
It was an amazing week…one I won’t soon forget.